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ASK MATT
Has the Dust Settled? July 26, 2006

Matt Demers - 23:13 EST

I'M POOPED! First of all, I want to apologize for getting my columns up so late this week; this is one of the busiest times of this summer, so forgive me. After a long and exciting night putting together my column and working out the details of the socky fireworks display, I hit the sack and awoke five hours later to begin anew. The conference was actually quite more enjoyable today, as my professor and a couple of others had some very interesting talks! We also ate at a fantastic French restaurant in Waterloo called "Solé", where I ate the pork tenderloin feature; it was wonderful.

For anyone who might be interested in Final Fantasy XII, don't be intimidated by the SOCK! I've had a few questions from people, and firstly, I want to make it clear that you never have to send in an actual letter to Q&A if you don't want to in order to participate. If you prefer to, you can simply mail me your answers whenever you choose to and points will be scored to your name, easy as that. It's going to be a pretty crazy competition; not only do we have dozens of people actively participating now, we have a few familiar faces getting back into the game...

BUT, we'll talk more about that later! For now, let's get to the meat of the sandwich that is RPGamer's Q&A column: Your letters!




L E T T E R S
Games for girlfriends. You're asking ME!?


Hi!

I've just recently bought a PS2 (yea, I know, talk about late. Good things come to those who wait), and I've been wondering if there are some good RPGs that allow for cooperative play on it?

Matt

You may laugh, but this is actually a fantastic time to buy a PS2. Not only is the price at its best, the slim model is much nicer than the original. Furthermore, we're getting into one of the richest times for PS2 RPGs in the next few months, with games like Disgaea 2, Xenosaga Episode III, Persona 3, Rogue Galaxy, Final Fantasy XII, Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, and even MORE coming out very soon! Really exciting.

Something that would compensate my girlfriend for having to witness my fawning all over DQ8. You see, we've been playing (well, I've been playing, she's been watching) some story-driven games with no problems (FFX, Vagrant Story, the like), but DQ8 is nothing but a fancy 3D grind (not that that's a bad thing for me), and it sports Toriyama designs. Two major stinkers for my girl.

Matt

Yum. My favourite! Forget her; you and I might make a great couple!

What? Mwahahaha, just kidding. Sorry, I'll tone down the creepy factor.

I was thinking of Tales game or something like that... But from what I hear, ToLegendia doesn't have that feature, and ToAbyss isn't out yet (unless you count the moonspeak version, which I won't count), and I'm still not sure if it does have multiplay.

So, umm, yeah... Any other games? I'm interested in jRPGs, so no Champions of Norrath or the like (not enough bishie factor).

--
Knurek


Matt

Incidentally, my sister and brother had great fun playing Tales of Legendia together. I don't know if they were playing at the same time, or if my brother was just coaching Diane, but she really did enjoy it, so that could be a great idea. If she's into light-hearted or funny stories, it might be fun for you guys to play through a Mario game, or even (dare I say it) Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana. Girls seem to enjoy that game more than guys do, I'll warn you, and I don't really know why; it's just something I've learned over the months. Apparently the sequel is better than the first, but you might want to give those a try, somehow. Otherwise, you could try Xenosaga if you want to lay on the story really thick, or even Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. I'm not the biggest fan of that one, but I think that it could be entertaining to watch, because Tom (partner) took a keen interest in the game from the outside, and he's not even a fan of RPGs to begin with.

Hopefully those help! Let me know if you stumble upon anything!



Again... what's in a name?


Hey there, Matt

So, no Final Fantasy XI sequel. (Yay!) What are your thoughts?
-CW


Matt

Ha! Square Enix does have another online RPG in development, but you know as well as I do that if FFXI departure to the online realm had been more universally accepted, who knows? They could very well have just made this currently-in-development game into a sequel by entitling it differently. Sure, we don't really know any details yet, so that's probably not entirely fair to say, but I guess that I'm indifferent to the idea in the end.

It's not that I'm against online RPGs and online RPGamers; I just don't think they should be (or should have been) released as part of the core FF series, because they're soooo very different. I guess, technically, by "they" I really mean "it", and by "it", I mean Final Fantasy XI and its expansions. Oh well, you get the picture. I'm sure we'll hear more about this mystery game in the months to come.



The comeback of the PSP starts here? Unlikely.


Matt,

Not sure if you've ever played either one, but I've been thinking about grabbing the Legend of Heroes games for the PSP, despite relatively low review scores. The thing of it is, the only major complaint in all of the reviews is that the games are very old-school and cliche, essientially playing like a 16-bit game. Are there any other real problems with the games, or is it just that they aren't modern enough have high review scores (which is understandable, given how far RPGs have come)? If the only major problem with the games is that the gameplay is dated and the plot is cliche, than I have no problem heading to the local EB and buying them... I still regularly play, old 8 and 16-bit RPGs, so having a couple portable games with that gameplay style doesn't sound that bad.

- DDX

SOCK:

#266 - c) Edward Chris von Muir

#267 - d) Sir Francis Drake


Matt

I honestly haven't heard that much from my RPGamer readers, but from other sources, it seems like the game doesn't have much going for it. From the looks of it, the game possesses a lacklustre translation, terribly slow pacing, and a meagre plotline.

If you're really worried about it, then you could always rent it or buy it used at a discount. If as many people found it to be that bad, there should be plenty of second-hand copies out there at this point. And, if you do try it out, write back in and let everybody else know what your verdict is!

Thanks, DDX.



See: Instruction manual.


IN dragon quest 8 how do u revive fallen charaters??????

Matt

IN Dragon Quest, there are lots of ways to revive fallen characters. In the beginning, your options are limited, because unlike many other series, you can't just stock your pockets with 99 of your favourite cheap revival-item. Do your best to stay alive! In case you do fall, you'll have to take your fallen comrade to the nearest church, where they may be revived for a small fee, depending on what level he or she is in. Later on, you might obtain an Yggdrasil Leaf or two, which will revive an ally immediately. Once you get powerful enough, too, you might just learn the spells of Zing and Kazing, both of which can come in very handy! By that point, you likely won't have to use the church much anymore.

Good luck!



One vote for Black Mage, Sean!


Hey matt

I have been playing FF11 for quite sometime now about 400hours, and to the letter yesterday i would say that a black mage is really good i can help him in the game if he is on my server im on ramuh, and to all the pal gamers im from europe too i live in the faroe islands and you know how lives next door to me magnus or ialta that works on this site, pretty cool id say, yeak back to what i was talking about you can buy something named slim kit pro it lets you play US and JP games it is really easy to set in, you dont even have to open the playstation2 and you go on ebay and buy the games you need, i have about 25US games now so yeah you should try it out and as always when i write in i have to say something about Grandia i know its been a long time since i whote in last time sorry about that matt i will try my best to write in more,yeah grandia you must play the game its the best game ever.and in the faroe islands games cost 100dollers here so its not odd i use ebay now is it HAHAHAHA

Matt

Ouch! How legal is this slim kit pro affair? If it's legit, it could be a worthy option, but to me it sounds like a more underhanded affair. I'd wait for the PS3 and its regionally accepting ways, myself.

I almost bought Grandia III, you know, back when I was feeling indecisive earlier this year. I almost regret having gone with Metroid Prime Hunters instead. It's a decent game for the DS with really neat controls and such, but I'm kinda bored with it. I could have gone with Grandia or Suikoden instead, and broadened my RPG horizons!

I'm sure that Sean will be pleased to hear that someone had a recommendation for him! The only game I've played for 400 hours is... well, probably no game at all. Maybe, maybe Dragon Warrior IV... I spent half of my early-adolescent life leveling my characters up to 99 in the second-to-last area.

Also, don't worry! People are busy; there's no way I could expect you to write back every other minute. It's just nice to hear from you again.

from: grandiaerbest real name is Ragnar mørkøre and FF11 name albal

and last i have to say this: matt you do an awesome job here i wish you all the best with your future well take care matt see you next time i write in, it will be very soon i hope.


Matt

Thanks very much, Ragnar, grandiaerbest, albal, or whatever you want me to call you! It means a lot to hear that, and I hope to hear from you again soon!



It's a little blue pill. See if RPGgra is right for you.


Hello Matt. This is my first time writing. Let's hope it goes well.

Matt

Well, you're off to a smashing start in the first sentence, what with those well placed punctuation marks, wonderful spelling, and brilliant phrasing! What can I do for you?

So as not to waste any time, I'll just jump right into my topic. Lately it seems that a lot of my RPG playing pals are losing interest in the genre. It started with one of them getting bored and then over the past few months, more of them have been jumping ship (even I thought about it at one point). A lot of people that think this is a good thing though, like they just need a break or something, but I don't know if that is really the best way to get past the problem. My question is this... Have you ever had to take a break from the RPG genre due to a lack of motivation? And if so, how did you get past it?

Matt

Absolutely. Sometimes, after playing the crap out of one or two games, I just don't feel like looking at an RPG at all for awhile. It's kind of like going out for dinner at a great restaurant; when you get there, everything smells fantastic and all of the menu items are tantalizing. You totally enjoy the meal, but when you're finished, you feel so bloated that you just don't feel like looking at food again for a long, long time. Of course, it doesn't take long for that feeling to pass, and I think the same thing could happen with you and your friends!

When I've felt that way in the past, I dive into some less intense games; that's exactly what I did earlier this year, after I went nuts with Dragon Quest VIII and Wild Arms: Alter Code F. What were the next two games I played? If you recall, they were (the epic) Super Princess Peach and Metroid Prime Hunters. After awhile (and maybe a month or two!) I regained my taste for the genre.

We also have an RPG Club set up where we pick a game to play and then play it as a group. However, lately the club hasn't played anything due to people not really wanting to play. The last game that really worked and had a bunch of people playing was DQVIII and it was great! Ever since then though, we haven't been able to play much of anything as a group. We tried to play Magna Carta as a club game next, and that is where the trouble started. Magna Carta was such an awful game that only a couple people were able to keep playing it and finish. I was not one of those people. After that game, people started dropping like flies and things started going downhill fast. Some of us tried to play Grandia 3, but that game wasn't very good either. The combat was ok, but the exploration was gone and the characters stunk. So this game didn't help the situation.

Matt

I think that it's important for you guys to not FORCE yourself through games that you're finding unpleasant, because I think that might be a good way to turn your so-called "RPG-drive" totally off. That said, don't give up trying new games that look exciting, for fear that they won't live up to their promise!

Thing is, I can't help but wonder if maybe all of this has something to do with a lack of exploration in many of the newer RPGs. DQVIII was an explorers dream come true, letting you go to the corners of the world to find treasure just like the older games did when we were younger. Grandia 3 was bad (and Magna Carta was worse) though due to the fact that you are stuck following paths. I can't help but wonder... Is the lack of exploration killing the RPG genre and taking the gamers down with it? Is there really anyone out there that enjoys point to point games more?

I had more to write about, but I guess I'll stop there for now.

Here are my guesses for the Sock (I'm probably wrong).
#268: A #269: C

Thanks!
thinkfreemind


Matt

The exploration factor is huge for me too, and it's one of the main reasons that Final Fantasy X is one of my less-loved games in the famous series. As one reader pointed out last week, it's way more fun to glide through the skies and search out interesting new locations than to blandly pick them out from a list.

You're right, though; when I think back to the old Dragon Warrior games, the Breath of Fire games, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy... they all had huge exploration factors ten or fifteen years ago that games usually don't possess now. Maybe it's one reason that some old-school gamers have felt disenfranchised, lately. While I understand their disappointment, I also like to think that there's more to an RPG than a sense of exploration. Hopefully you can find the other things about the genre that YOU like and go from there.

Best of luck, Mr. thinkfreemind! I hope that you and your friends' RPG-drive perks up again sometime soon.



Run, run, run... to check this one out.


Sup guys

I was watching the movie the Running Man With Arnold Sweznager (how ever you spell it).The Running Man a little gem of a movie from the 80's. And the background music in the movie is the same as one of the theme music when your in Midgar in the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. Check it out.

Matt

Schwarzenegger, you mean? I prefer to call him "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW OLD HE IS"-dude. Really, I think he's almost sixty years old already, if you can believe that. If he ever finishes his gubernatorial duties and gets back into the movie industry, it'd be humourous if they decided to include him in another Terminator sequel.

Having never seen the movie, I obviously haven't observed this. What about everyone else?



That was a jarring blow yesterday, wasn't it?


Man, it's a good thing that Apocalypse damage wasn't so extensive. I've worked long and hard to get to where I am...and I'll have to work even harder to reach 20k once somebody takes that last damn 15k guest host spot.

Matt

That's easy for you to say! Some people were hit by more than 6,000 damage, and even more were afflicted with dangerous status ailments. Yesterday was definitely the most chaotic of days we've had in the contest yet, but I'm sure there will be many more to come, especially as people's scores start to escalate upward towards the big prizes!

Anyway, I wish I still had Haste, because I'm not even going to try to decipher either question. In the spirit of total randomness:

268) Actually, I can make sense of this one! And I know which one it is! It's B! Hooray! I think! ...man, that better say FF4 under all that crap...

269) Given that all those answers are single letters, and they're all scrambled, how could anyone actually KNOW this one? Um...C?

Matt

Well, you got 'em half right. Not bad.

I don't KNOW what the recent announcements on Mognet and FFIII are, so I will pass on that. But I will say that I don't care about FFXI, because MMORPGs are impossible for me to play, since I refuse to pay for a game over and over and over again every single month. It would make me feel compelled to play that game forever and make the most of it.

I have no other words today. In fact, it's 6 p.m., so I'm just getting off work. I hope I send this in time for at least that one question I'm 99% sure I've got right.

-TV's F'n A

Matt

Amen. I don't have the time to play normal RPGs that take 30 hours, let alone crazed never-ending ones, and besides, you're right; I'd rather invest my money in the glut of big not-online titles coming out later this year.

As for the news about Mognet, it will apparently be making an appearance on the DS remake! Isn't that exciting? And not only that, there's been word that you might be able to send letters of your own through Mognet across the real world to other FFIII players, too, powered by Nintendo's Wi-Fi. It's just another piece of evidence that they've really put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into this remake! I can't wait.

Thanks, Mr. F'n A. (That's so fun to say!)



Charbucket! Char! Charbucket!!


The horrid smell of burning mouse fur permeates the surrounding area. With hair singed, fur charred, glasses blackened, and a little flame still sprouting from the tip of her tail like a Charmander, Bucket NezuMi glares at the entire SOCK competition, encasing her entire fury in one sign:

“I h8 j00 all”

Answers for SOCK are as follows: #268 is E and #269 is (a complete guess) C, which probably won’t help.

I’m off to Disney World. Have fun.

--Bucket NezuMi

Matt

Awww, Bucket! I'm sorry you fell victim to SOCK's first apocalypse. Perhaps you'll make a recovery upon your return. Have fun in Disney World!! Can I come along?



Whoa.


Oh yes. I'm back. Hehehehe...I'm ready to start my reign of flawless victolies. ^^

268. B - Final Fantasy IV (Cecil was a shopkeeper)
269. D - P (Damn you, Doopliss!)

I'll take those 825 points, please. ^^

~Ourobolus
(Josh Martz)

Matt

Now this is a startling development. Careful, everybody! He's probably thirsty for the 2,094 points that were snatched from him. Or his own copy of Suikoden... could he be out for that? The game. Has begun. Again.

I'm thrilled to have you back on for the ride, Josh!! It'd be awesome if we managed to win each other's games (though I doubt our readers would be terribly enthused).





C L O S I N G
IN CONCLUSION:

In case anyone is interested, a friendly guy wrote in asking if anyone would be interested in buying some older used games. If you're in the market for some old-school RPGs for the SNES, Playstation, and Playstation 2, you might want to give him a shout! I didn't want to publish his letter in the column itself, because I don't really want this site to turn into an RPG version of eBay, but if you're interested at all, I suggest that you e-mail Sean at BuddyWingnut@yahoo.com.

No math tomorrow
I need this break, holy crap
I am all mathed out


Flashay!


***Answers to July 25th's Questions***

#268. b) Final Fantasy IV (FiN** FAnytsu *V) - 375 points/750 for Gilgamesh (I can't believe I didn't remember this, but almost all of you got it, even with the Blind Spell in place. Great job, guys! The question asked which game's character made a cameo as an armour seller in Secret of Evermore, for anyone who is interested)

#269. d) P (P) - 450 points (The question asked "What letter did a certain Creepy Steeple Dweller swipe from the input menu, making it impossible to guess his name correctly the first time?" It refers to Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, in which the crafty Doopliss has stolen the 'P'. One of my FAVOURITE RPG moments of *all* time, I swear.)


***Today's New Questions***

Reader-Submitted #270: After running around the bottom floor of the Citadel for some time, you will become which of the following? (420 points)

a) Enlightened
b) Dizzy
c) Afraid
d) Bored
e) Incarcerated


#271: Which of the following characters is in a different kingdom from all of the others? (475 points)

a) Peco
b) Locke
c) Alex
d) Ash
e) Maribel


Remember, even if you both of a day's questions wrong, you'll still be awarded 200 points just for making the effort. It won't take you long to scale the ranks if you're just starting out and you keep it up!

--------------------------
STRAGGLERS: (people who I love, but who still need to check their e-mail or somehow get in touch with me because they have unclaimed items- if you fall off the list after a week, it's TOO LATE FOR YOU! Check your spam/trash folders for my messages if you're not getting them, and I'll check mine, too!)
  • none to speak of!
--------------------------

Click Here for a Complete List of SOCK Items and Rules!

SOCK's Item List

*You may obtain these items upon reaching the listed point benchmarks!*

2,000 points: Your choice of Mythril Sword (1 left) or Aux. Point Generator (1 left)
3,500 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (1 left) or Rename Card (1 left)
5,000 points: Your choice of Venom Spell (2 left) or Thundara Spell (2 left)
7,000 points: Your choice of Blizzaga Spell (2 left) or Damage Deflector (3 left)
10,000 points: Your choice of Merton Spell (2 left) or Confuga Spell (1 left)
14,000 points: Your choice of Point Tripler (2 left) or Killer Sword (2 left)
19,000 points: Your choice of Economizer (2 left) or Staff of Aid (1 left)
25,000 points: Your choice of Demiga Spell (2 left) or Nightmare Staff (2 left)


SOCK's Prize Shop

*You may SPEND points here in order to obtain any of the following prizes- new ones may appear at any time*

2,000 points: Matt's Mom's Cookie Compilation- 6 fantastic recipes right out of Matt's mom's amazing kitchen! Yours, upon request. (2 left)

4,000 points: Intro Paragraph Cameo- If you feel like having a piece of Q&A all to yourself for a day, but you're not up for answering a bunch of questions, this option might be just for you! Say the word, and the Intro Paragraph is yours to do whatever you want with for a day. (5 left)

15,000 points: Nintendo Wii Canvas Carrying Bag- It's simple and white, with blue print, and two drawstrings; I picked this up while waiting in the nigh-infinitely long line to play Nintendo's new console at E3 2006. If you'd like it, I'll mail it to you free of charge! [Pictured] (1 left)

15,000 points: Pokémon 10th Anniversary game case- Not as special as it sounds, but useful for carrying up to 4 DS games or 2 DS games and 2 Game Boy Advance games. [Pictured] [Inside, Pictured] (1 left)

20,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #4- It might sound like a lot, but it'll be here before you know it. Your next chance to reign over Q&A with yours truly. (5 left)

22,000 points: Slime Keychain Dangler- Fresh from the Square Enix booth at E3 2006, this cute little guy can be yours. Not really a keychain as much as it is something to put ON a keychain, but better used as a figurine, I think. [Slime Snail, Pictured] (1 left)

30,000 points: Cohost Opportunity #5- The next round of co-hostings awaits you at this level! Make it here, and take my famous co-host seat! (5 left)

30,000 points: Nintendo DS Lite Carrying Case- This won't quite fit old-model DS handhelds, but it's lightweight and flashy. White and black with an extra zippered pocket for carrying games, and a hook to attach to clothes, backpacks, or whatnot. I received this at Nintendo's Pre-E3 Media Briefing. [Front, Pictured] [Back, Pictured] (2 left)

30,000 points: Your choice of Megaman X4, X5, or X6 for the PS1 (NTSC). The instructions are in each, but the jewel cases are cracked from use. (3 left)

50,000 points: Full Host Opportunity #2- Call Q&A your own for a day, without me infecting any parts of it! (1 left)

50,000 points: Vandal Hearts (PAL) for the PS1. One of the earliest tactical RPGs of the Playstation era. Latch onto this if you're a PAL gamer and you have enough points! Thanks to Sean for the donation. (1 left)

50,000 points: Final Fantasy VII (PAL) for the PS1. If you're a PAL gamer who still hasn't experienced the greatness of this game, this is your perfect chance! This is another donation by Sean! (1 left)

50,000 points: Suikoden for the PS1. Play the game that started off the entire series! Thanks so much to Ouro and Sean for donating these - it would be cool to send them to a good and loving home. (1 left in NTSC-format, 1 left in PAL-format!)

100,000 points: Arc the Lad Collection (NTSC), for the PS1. Donated by Sean, so thank him! This collection contains four RPGs from an often-overlooked series. If you can get to 100,000 first, you can call this your own. (1 left)

100,000 points: Final Fantasy XII (NTSC), for the PS2. It'll be tough, but this game can be yours if you can scrounge up the points. Only one is available, so do your very best! (1 left)
*********************************************************


I'll be heading home on Friday, and I'll be in Montréal late next week, so my columns are going to be a little bit sparser than usual over the next little while. I promise that I'll do my best to get as many up as I can, but bear with me!

Thanks for writing in so much! I'm loving the mail and there have been some great questions. If you have a question of your own, an answer to provide, or any other commentary to contribute, please feel free to send me some more mail! You might just see yourself featured in my next column.

slimey@rpgamer.com
***Matt likes Solé almost as much as he likes soleil!


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SOCK's Top 35:

1. Aurelius
21,725 pts

2. Kanato
20,189 pts

3. Xlash
18,893 pts

4. Erika
18,878 pts

5. Alan Tse
18,542 pts

6. JokingChimer
17,548 pts

7. DMJewelle
16,243 pts

8. MagRowan
13,778 pts

9. Dermot
13,206 pts

10. Cap
13,095 pts

11. TV's Adam
12,516 pts

12. Belthasar2
12,358 pts

13. DDX
12,209 pts

14. Colabottle
11,765 pts

15. LufiaLvr
11,435 pts

16. Leaper
10,033 pts

17. Tabor
9,479 pts

18. Arros Raikou
8,301 pts

19. FinalDelerium
8,147 pts

20. BLG
8,003 pts

21. Purelunatic
7,690 pts

22. Flamethrower
7,453 pts

23. Gaijin
6,838 pts

24. Gilgamesh
6,745 pts

25. Knighttrain
6,566 pts

26. Donovan
5,009 pts

27. JuMeSyn
4,054 pts

28. CW
3,935 pts

29. Megan
3,827 pts

30. Kyre7Lar
2,520 pts

31. Rexy
2,284 pts

32. Macstorm
2,150 pts

33. Bucket
2,145 pts

34. Alexander
2,116 pts

35. Bainick
1,848 pts

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